Ashland University Dining Recognizes National Nutritional Month

Ashland University Dining Recognizes National Nutritional Month

3/12/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – Bite into a healthy lifestyle, that is what the Ashland University Student Dietetics Association (SDA) would like Ashland students to start doing. Every March is National Nutritional Month and this year the goal of the SDA is to provide education on healthy eating habits.

The SDA is working closely with the dining halls on campus including Myers Convocation Center, the Eagles Nest and Tuffy’s Smoothie Bar to make dietary changes to their menus. The changes won’t be there all month; however, the SDA plans to have special days in each of the dining facilities to educate students on nutrition facts and awareness. The changes that students will see on those days will range from kale chips to roasted vegetables being featured on the menu.

The first SDA Nutrition Day is on March 12 and will be located in Tuffy’s Smoothie Bar. The day will feature add-ins to the smoothies such as flaxseed and spinach. It will also promote healthier food items and benefits of eating healthy. The SDA will also have samples of the smoothies with the healthy add-ins so students can taste samples of the healthy smoothies.

March 19 will be SDA’s Awareness Day in the Convocation Center from 4 to 7 p.m. On this day, the SDA will highlight the healthier options available to students and teach proper food portions. The theme is “Take a Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” so the group will be focusing on snack sized options for this event. Brittany Cermak, a member of the Student Dietetics Association on campus, also stated the location for these items will be moved from the Hot Bar to one of the Daily Specials.

“Last year we had the healthy food options at the Hot Bar and many students actually took too much,” Cermak said. “This year with the employees being able to serve the food, we know that students will get the correct portion size.”

Fred Geib, general manager of Dining Services, also thinks being in control of the portion size will help the students.

“When students come in to a dining hall nowadays they are very understanding of what is healthy and what isn’t. The students know that fried food and similar items aren’t healthy; however, they don’t know too much about portion size,” Geib said. “While they might be getting a healthier option, they might be eating too much of it or grab an unhealthy item and then a healthy item thinking that it will make up for the bad food they are eating. I would just like to help the students understand how much food is healthy for them and how much isn’t.”

The Eagles’ Nest will be participating in the awareness month on March 24 from 4 to 7 p.m., and its focus will be primarily on getting students healthier options with a meal equivalency swipe that is currently $6.50. The SDA also wants to inform students of the healthy options they are available to them such as carrots and celery and even ordering a wrap without the tortilla. The implementation of a stop light program will occur as well with the granola bars being labeled red, yellow or green for their nutrition value -- with red being not a healthy option to green being the best choice in terms of nutrition.

The SDA also will be giving out a survey to the students asking about potential healthy menu changes for the Nest for next school year. The use of data is really important for the Dietetics group as they are always looking for feedback from events so they can improve programming year to year.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###